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Fourth of July traffic, flights to LA expected to break records

Trip length could double

Traffic jam
Record numbers of travelers will be on the road around July 4.
EGD | Shutterstock

Fourth of July falls smack in the middle of the workweek this year, but that doesn’t seem to be deterring travelers much. According to a report from AAA and transportation analyst Inrix, close to 47 million Americans will hit the road between July 3 and July 8, and many of them will be coming to Los Angeles.

If you’re planning on heading out of town for the holiday, consider leaving early—or be prepared for congestion.

The report predicts that traffic will be worst on Tuesday afternoon between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. At that time, trips will take about twice as long as they do in normal traffic levels.

New York and Washington are the only major cities expected to have longer backups during that time.

“Tuesday afternoon will hands down be the worst time to be on the road,” says Inrix general manager Scott Sedlik. In a statement, he advises travelers to “avoid peak commuting hours altogether or consider alternative routes.”

Compounding the problem are low airfares, enticing record numbers of visitors to LAX. The airport announced Thursday that it expects nearly 3 million passengers to fly in and out of its terminals between June 29 and July 9.

On the four busiest days during that stretch (June 29, July 1, July 6, and July 9), more than 100,000 vehicles are projected to pass through the airport’s arrivals and departures roadway.

The very busiest day will be June 29, when the airport expects to accommodate more than 275,000 passengers. On a national level, the Transportation Security Administration predicts that 2.7 million travelers could go through airport security Friday—an all-time record.

If you have a flight to catch on one of those days, it’s probably a good idea to head to the airport far in advance. If you know someone arriving, now might be a good time to let them know about the handy Flyaway shuttle.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

1 World Way, Los Angeles, CA 90045